Jack Straw appoints first Chair of Legal Services Board

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, today announced the appointment of David Edmonds as the first chair of the Legal Services Board, following consultation with the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

"I am delighted that David Edmonds will be taking on this important role. I am confident that he will provide excellent leadership for the first Legal Services Board."

"The Legal Services Board is a new office, created as part of the wider legal services reforms as embodied in the Legal Services Act 2007. The aims of the organisation are clear - to put the consumer first and to promote competition, innovation, and transparency."

"As the first Chair, Mr Edmonds will take the lead in setting the strategic direction of the Board to ensure that these aims are met."

Mr Edmonds will formally take up post on 1 May 2008. The term of appointment is until May 2011.

Notes for editors

1. David Edmonds has extensive experience of leading effective senior management teams in commercial and public sector organisations. After a career in the senior civil service and as Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation, he spent seven years as a Managing Director within the NatWest Group. His regulatory experience includes five years as Director General of Telecommunications and two years as a founding member of the Board of Ofcom. He is currently the Chair of the Board of NHS Direct. He has served for four years as a Commissioner at the Legal Services Commission. He will leave both those posts in the next few months. He is also a non-executive director of a number of PLCs, and a Trustee of the Social Market Foundation. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Keele University.

2. Mr Edmonds was appointed in consultation with the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, as prescribed under Schedule 1, section 1(3) of the Legal Services Act 2007.

3. The Legal Services Act 2007 set the stage for wide-ranging reforms to the provision and regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The Act establishes the Legal Services Board (LSB), which will be a single independent oversight regulator that will replace the current oversight regulators. The Act establishes the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC), which will administer an ombudsman scheme that will deal with all consumer complaints about legal services. The Act also enables the creation of alternative business structures between lawyers and non-lawyers.

4. The LSB will be independent from government and the legal profession. It will be a public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The Chair and other board members will be responsible for the design and outlook of the organisation, for establishing the new regulatory framework and for providing oversight of approved regulators and licensing authorities. The LSB will become fully operational by early 2010.


Published on: 2008-04-24

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